The end of August has always made me feel like school should be starting again (no matter how old I get). I begin to feel nostalgic about all those years of backpack carrying I had. This chalkboard cake is a perfect solution for my classroom desire. A fun way to start the “school year,” whether sending the kids off – or simply getting my fill of chalk, sweets, and everything I loved about being a kid.

With the candy chalk you can make a chalkboard cake that says whatever you’d like it to. I think it would be a blast to do for a birthday and have all the guests write a little something on the cake – or write out an inside joke to the birthday girl. We are sticking with the cake as a first week of school snack and including wishes for the new school year ahead.

To make the chalkboard cake you will need: 1 box cake mix (any flavor), or your own recipe, powdered (confectioner’s) sugar, and a 24 oz box of black fondant.

To make the candy chalk you will need: white chocolate candy melts, a rolling pin, straws, kitchen skewers, a pastry brush, and 1/2 to 1 cup of granulated sugar (can be re-used later).

To make the buttercream frosting you will need: 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) at room temperature, 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream.

How to make a chalkboard birthday cake

Start by baking cake following instructions. We wanted a stacked cake and used 3 round cake sizes: 6×3, 4×2, and 3×2. Make sure to check for doneness on cakes in the oven if baking in different sized pans. Allow the cakes to cool. Frost the base layer (6×3 cake) with buttercream. Let chill in fridge for 10-15 minutes.

Next apply the fondant by covering the bottom layer first. Cut about half of the fondant block. Place the rest of the fondant in a ziplock bag until ready to use again. Sprinkle powdered sugar on a flat surface or board. Begin kneading the fondant to a workable consistency. Roll out the piece of fondant with a rolling pin, to about 1/4? thickness, lifting and turning as you go. Dust surface with more powdered sugar if necessary to prevent fondant from sticking.

Carefully lift the fondant with both hands and place it above the cake, eyeballing where it’ll be evenly positioned on the cake. Cover the cake with the fondant. With your hands, lightly smooth outward on the top and down the sides of the cake, shaping the fondant to the cake. Trim excess fondant from the base of the cake.

Take any leftover fondant scraps and re-roll, or cut about a palm-sized piece of fondant from the ziplock bag. Repeat the instructions for rolling and covering the second layer of cake. Place second layer on top of the first, dabbing the center of the first cake with frosting so the second layer will stay in place.

Repeat steps for the third piece of fondant. Cover the top layer of cake with fondant and place on stacked cake. Store any leftover fondant in the ziplock bag.

How to make buttercream frosting

To make the buttercream frosting – cream the butter on medium speed; 2 to 3 minutes (until light and fluffy). Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the cream and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until incorporated; 2 to 3 minutes. Add more cream if necessary, mixing on low speed, until the frosting reaches the desired light and fluffy consistency; about 3 to 5 minutes.

How to make candy chalk

Melt about 6-8 ounces of candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl, following instructions on package. Allow to cool a few minutes before scooping into a ziplock bag and sealing.

Place 3-4 straws in a tall glass filled halfway with regular sugar (to keep straws upright). Snip off one corner of the ziplock bag containing melted chocolate and slowly squeeze and fill straws with the chocolate.

Place glass in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to allow chocolate to harden. Remove from freezer. Take a skewer and insert into one end of the straw. Gently push the chocolate out. You now have “chalk” that is not only edible but can be used to write on your chalkboard cake. It is easier to write with smaller pieces of chalk so feel free to break them up before using.

Be creative and draw or write sayings on your chalkboard cake with the homemade chalk!

To create the effect of a chalkboard being used over the years, take a pastry brush and dip lightly into powdered sugar. Gently brush on the surface of the fondant and sweep back and forth until you achieve desired effect.

This cake is a part of our birthday cake series. Produced and photographed by Athena Plichta. Creative direction by Victoria Hudgins for A Subtle Revelry.